Today I’m going to digress from all things RV.
Our family experienced a traumatic event last week. Our beloved tuxedo cat Pepper vanished without a trace.
We were sitting around a campfire in our back yard. Pepper was resting in my husband’s lap. After about a half hour the cat got up and slipped away into the night.
About an hour later when we went to bed we called for him, but no cat. The other three and the dog were all accounted for. Not eight year old Pepper.
This was highly unusual as this cat has been sickly for a couple years and doesn’t wander far from the yard. In the past we have had cats killed by coyotes, so we were very worried. Even if Pepper had just wandered away for a bit it was bad news. He has hyperthyroidism and a serious upper respiratory infection and declines rapidly without regular medication.
The next morning I found a photo of the cat and posted in on our local community yard sale site. The online yard sale community immediately re-posted and updated the missing cat ad every hour. We had at least 50 people keeping an eye out for Pepper. Still no cat.
A family get attached to its animals. They are just as big a part of the household dynamic as parents and children. The other three cats and the dog were restless. They seemed to sense there was a “ripple in the force” in our home.
Over the next three days we got potential sightings, but there are several outdoor tuxedo cats in our neighbourhood and none matched up to Pepper. We were convinced that if he hadn’t been killed, then without his meds he probably died by now anyway. He had lost significant weight before this, going from 22 pounds two years ago to only eight pounds at his last vet appointment. He looked scrawny and disheveled at the best of times. Surely he couldn’t survive being lost for almost a week.
Last night at 5 p.m. I got an urgent message on my cell phone. “My niece has Pepper. Here’s her phone number.” One of the 24/7 Yard Sale regulars may have found our cat!
I wasn’t hopeful, but I made the call. Was he bony? Matted coat? Purrs all the time? The lady answered yes to my questions. I hung up the phone and yelled up the stairs at my husband “Somebody found Pepper! Let’s go get him now!”
My son, husband and I hopped in the car and drove to the furthest back street next to a thick wooded area in our neighbourhood. Sure enough, a young woman stood in a driveway, three little blonde children behind her. She held a tuxedo cat in her arms. All tuxes have a unique pattern, just like our fingerprints. I recognized this one immediately. It was our Pepper!
Thank-you’s flowed. My teary-eyed husband scooped up Pepper and got back in the car. The vet closed in a half hour, but we got him there in time for a weigh-in. Pepper was down to 7.4 pounds, but otherwise seemed fine. The vet and staff were very happy to see him as he is a favourite patient of theirs. He doesn’t need to be caged to go to the vet. He sits in the waiting room beside my husband and waits his turn, ignoring the other dogs and cats around him. During his examinations he purrs constantly, sometimes so loud the vet can’t hear his heartbeat.
We made a checkup appointment for today and brought the cat back to our house where he stuffed himself like – well – like he hadn’t eaten in five days.
After dark Pepper went to the door and meowed to go outside. Not a chance. We’ve decided he’s a house cat now which is just as well with the cold winter weather coming in a month or so.
I guess Pepper does have a loose connection with camping. We took him for a weekend trip in our C class RV two years ago. He spent both days hiding under the trailer next to our site. Never went inside the vehicle again, even when it was parked in our driveway.